04/15/2010 LD: "About Jace"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The real issue here is deck cost, i.e. Jace is really expensive. Deck cost warps metagames.

Jace costs a lot of money. Not very many players are willing to purchase them, even if it means boosting their win percentage. In turn, no one is willing to play anti-Jace decks. Anti-Jace decks just do not exist in this metagame because, on the whole, the top Jace decks only make up a small fraction of the metagame. It does not make sense to try to beat Caw-Blade when Caw-Blade is 15% of the metagame. This is completely rational behavior given the constraints. It's just a simple game theoretical model of rock-paper-scissors except you make scissors costly by subtracting some positive amount from its payoffs regardless of what the other guy plays. The rest of it logically from there. (The formal proof is here: magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=89...)

If you really wanted to fix the metagame, make Jace cheaper. Lots of people would start playing them. Anti-Jace decks could then exist and thrive. Short of that, this problem does not go away.
Your response to the Jace problem is pretty well written, and I'm not just saying that because it happens to mirror my own opinion on the subject. I really hope the 'solutions' being printed in New Phyrexia are strong enough to move the format before June 20th, because really, banning cards in Standard really does suck and no competitive player wants tools taken out of the box.

I do sort of think you missed the point by comparing Jace to Affinity Ravager, though. Saying decks playing Jace TMS on turn 4 don't automatically win is missing the fact that they immediately move into a position to win. It's a single card that does two things blue really really likes; filter and stall at the same time. Arguing that people playing against it have a couple of turns to respond to it a) assumes there are responses to it, which are frankly few and far between, or b) that it isn't so much a response as a cat playing with a mouse. The game stops being 'beat the opponent' and more 'beat Jace'. If that isn't fun, I don't know what is.

My third point will be that using MODO daily events as a basis for determining the health of the format seems odd. Maybe you have more than you're letting on, but simply saying that people are playing Boros, Valakut, etc. doesn't mean they are winning with them. I could enter a daily with a B/R Furnace Celebration + Mortician Beetle deck, but that doesn't mean it matters to the overall health of the format. What would actually mean something would be statistics of what proportion of decks run Jace TMS, what those decks have as a win% vs. other decks with Jace, vs. other decks w/o Jace, and what decks without Jace have as win%.

Finally, I disagree with saying that banning shouldn't happen because it was costly for players to acquire the card. That could have been solved on the supply side by WotC by keeping Worldwake printed for a longer period of time. That any card in Standard should be >$50 is wacky, especially back when it was still in print. To the original point, if the decision to ban comes down to whether it will hurt the secondary market, there's a problem in the thinking there. Health of the game > price of one card.

I do have high hopes that some things will be printed in the near future which move the format along, whether its Oblivion Ring, a different power card in another color which discourages people from playing blue, or Red Elemental Blast.
I am glad to see clear and open communication about Jace, the Mind Sculptor from development. I understand that this article had to be written in a relatively short timeframe so there wasn't time to address every aspect of the debates about the current state of standard. I agree with the statements and conclusions made by Tom LaPille - Jace2 is the best card in standard, probably should have been printed slightly weaker (-1 for Brainstorm being the obvious correction), but is not so overpowering and unfair to require banning. A four mana card that wins through card advantage over several turns is a far cry from a card like Tolarian Academy which produces non-interactive combo decks that win by turn 2, or a card like Skullclamp which is much faster card draw than JTMS for the bargain price of a single colorless.

I think it would be interesting to learn more about the development and playtesting of the Mind Sculptor. In a video interview I saw Aaron Forsythe say that Brand requested that Jace2.0 be made very powerful. I think the relative failure of "answers to Jace" to succeed is also an interesting topic. I know Thrun, the Last Troll and also Hero of Oxid Ridge were promoted as anti-Jace cards in Latest Developments, but neither one has really made much of a dent. Thrun gets blocked all day by Squadron Hawks wearing pro-Green on Sword of Feast and Famine and although the Hero has seen some play, he competes with Koth of the Hammer at the same casting cost and the usual one-dimensionality of red beats & burn strategies has prevented them from acting as a very effective counterweight.

To some extent, people will always complain about the best deck. Before Caw-Go, Valakut got a lot of complaints, during Jund's era, some people wanted Bloodbraid banned, and let's not even get started on the Faeries. It is frustrating when certain cards or archetypes seem to overpower any attempt to fight them, but at the same time, it is impossible to perfectly balance every card in the environment unless you print nothing but Gray Ogre.
There is probably something wrong when you have to start printing cards specifically to deal with cards that are warping the metagame.  The problem is that a lot of these strategies that become completely dominant are so good that they can win through the hate.

We all remember when Faeries were completely dominating standard.  Several cards, including Great Sable Stag and Volcanic Fallout, were printed with Faeries as their prime target- and yet Faeries still managed to win through the hate.  The access it had to Thoughtseize to steal the uncounterable Wraths and its ability to race unblockable creatures thanks to Cryptic Command among other things meant it could essentially ignore the cards specifically designed to reduce its overall power level.

What is to say that the new cards designed to take on Jace are really going to be effective?  After all, he does come with a built in "hate-finder-mechanism" in his +2 ability.  Guess what he does when he finds it?  Says, "No.  I like winning games."  

I say this all as a player that owns 8 Jace, TMS, but it is really difficult to have to watch many of the local players coming to the decision that its not worth playing Standard till October due to the threshhold cost of buying 4 Jaces from the onset to really compete.  Yes, we all know that decks like Boros, Vampires, and Shaman/Vengevine variants exist, but the fact is that they are NOT as good as the Jace variants.  


Personally, I like the Scars-type planeswalkers in that they cannot automatically protect themselves. If that trend continues, I will personally be happy and Jace will rotate whenever.
I couldn't care less about Standard, but I still love that Wizards will address such a concern in an open and timely manner. Thanks.

I like the contention that there is a difference in metagame-oppressiveness between JTMS and past bans, and the acknowledgement that, indeed, the secondary market is not to be jilted lightly. Longtime WotC-watchers will notice and appreciate the improved communication about format health.

On the minus side, isn't Standard just always bad? In order for it to be good, there have to be two blocks with minimal/acceptable development fumbles, and between Urza, Masques, Psychatog, Onslaught Goblins, Affinity/clamp, Meloku/Jitte, Faeries, Jund, and Jace, the track record is not strong. I guess people keep playing Standard, so not everyone agrees with me, but I remain mystified. I've shared this stance on other threads and other forums, but I haven't yet heard why I should consider playing Standard besides the fact that it's the default.
The real issue here is deck cost, i.e. Jace is really expensive. Deck cost warps metagames.

Jace costs a lot of money. Not very many players are willing to purchase them, even if it means boosting their win percentage. In turn, no one is willing to play anti-Jace decks. Anti-Jace decks just do not exist in this metagame because, on the whole, the top Jace decks only make up a small fraction of the metagame. It does not make sense to try to beat Caw-Blade when Caw-Blade is 15% of the metagame. This is completely rational behavior given the constraints. It's just a simple game theoretical model of rock-paper-scissors except you make scissors costly by subtracting some positive amount from its payoffs regardless of what the other guy plays. The rest of it logically from there. (The formal proof is here: magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=89...)

If you really wanted to fix the metagame, make Jace cheaper. Lots of people would start playing them. Anti-Jace decks could then exist and thrive. Short of that, this problem does not go away.



I 200% disagree that the problem is the retail value of the card. While I don't like how much the card costs and refuse to buy it, I don't think the solution is to give everyone a playset of Jaces. There are copies of the card readily available; Starcitygames has over 100 copies available. One has to look at why it's as expensive as it is - a) power and b) lack of solutions. If there were alternative deck types as successful or individual card hoses, the price would come down because it wouldn't be as mandatory for Standard success.
My third point will be that using MODO daily events as a basis for determining the health of the format seems odd. Maybe you have more than you're letting on, but simply saying that people are playing Boros, Valakut, etc. doesn't mean they are winning with them. I could enter a daily with a B/R Furnace Celebration + Mortician Beetle deck, but that doesn't mean it matters to the overall health of the format. What would actually mean something would be statistics of what proportion of decks run Jace TMS, what those decks have as a win% vs. other decks with Jace, vs. other decks w/o Jace, and what decks without Jace have as win%.


To wit, Caw-Blade has been the only thing consistently winning on Magic Online.

magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=95...

Again, this has a lot to do with the cost of the deck. It's only a fraction of the metagame because there aren't many players willing to pay for it. On the other hand, there are a lot of players willing to build Boros because it is cheap. Not because it is good, but because it maximizes their win percentage in relation to the cost of playing. This tradeoff will always exist, but it might be more extreme right now than at any other point in Standard's history.

I 200% disagree that the problem is the retail value of the card. While I don't like how much the card costs and refuse to buy it, I don't think the solution is to give everyone a playset of Jaces. There are copies of the card readily available; Starcitygames has over 100 copies available. One has to look at why it's as expensive as it is - a) power and b) lack of solutions. If there were alternative deck types as successful or individual card hoses, the price would come down because it wouldn't be as mandatory for Standard success.


Take a look at the article I linked to in the previous post. There just aren't enough Caw-Blade decks out there (in MTGO land specifically) to make anti-Jace decks viable. Building a deck to beat 15% of the metagame is just not a viable solution.

Giving everyone a playset of Jaces would solve the problem. But that's obviously not a viable solution.

The fact that websites have them in stock does not invalidate the argument. I know that UW Caw-Blade is the best deck in Standard right now. I absolutely refuse to play it because it costs too much. Winning is important, but so is paying the rent, and for a sizeable portion of Magic's population, having four Jaces and having an acceptable bank account balance are mutually exclusive.
Your point about tournament attendance is moot because when it comes to the SCG Opens, the prize support they offer, and admittedly the lower difficulty of competition compared to a Grand Prix, people would still show up in droves even if Ravager Affinity was the Standard deck du jour AND Skullclamp was still legal.

Second, I call bull on you or anyone from WotC claiming that Jace wasn't as powerful as it was intended to be.  You put FOUR good abilities on a blue planeswalker.  FOUR.  Fateseal, free Brainstorm, Unsummon to protect itself, and the game ending ultimate.  FOUR.  Most other planeswalkers only have two good abilities but you put four on Jace.  I refuse to believe that R&D would be that lackadaisical and inept as to not realize that.  Then on top of that, there are no good answers to planeswalkers.  Note I said GOOD answers, as Hexmage/Revoker aren't good enough---you said that yourself.  Jace may not win the game on turn three or four, but there is no more demoralizing or unfun card in the last eight years of Standard, and yes I am counting Team Ravager Affinity, Bitterblossom, Umezawa's Jitte, Bloodbraid Elf, et al.  Opponents dropping Jace on turn four (or even three) just feels like you were set up to fail from the start.  But I also know there's a snowball's chance in hell that you would ban Jace no matter what.  He's the poster boy.


Lastly, I suspect that if the planeswalker in question that made 32/32 possible slots in the top 8 of Dallas and 60/64 slots out of the top 16 were Koth of the Hammer instead of Jace, the Mind Scupltor that you'd be announcing Koth getting the banHammer today.
I am delighted and frankly shocked that they ran an article specifically saying that banning Jace is being heavily weighed as an option.

The whole thing was very reasonable but it still felt like a speech the President makes when some part of the country is under ten feet of water, or burning down: outwardly calm with subtle hints of blind, desperate panic. 
I logged in for the first time in ages to post on here so that I can say I both agree and disagree with wspaniel.

First of all, Jace is very powerful, and lowering the cost of a card does not lower the power level of that card. Decks like Caw-Blade take up a much larger percent of the meaningful metagame (meaning decks that are actually good) and you absolutely must know how you are going to beat a deck with Jace if you aren't going to play him, or you will fail in any tournament. Secondly, there is no good way for Wizards to lower the cost of Jace short of banning him (which would be bad as well, IMO). They could either re-release him in a future set, which solves no problems since they admit he is too powerful, or they could release him in some promo form. But promos often are more expensive; they would need to inundate the market somehow, and then store-owners and people who already invested in Jace would understandably be frustrated.

I DO agree that the true elephant in the room, and the topic that SOMEONE at Wizards should address much in the same way that Tom addressed Jace here (which, as an aside, was very good; thank you, Tom, and all of Wizards, for being an awesome company that communicates well with your customers and fans). In the future, I think it would do wonders for the health of the game if Wizards either got rid of their Mythic Rare experiment or found a way to make them cheaper (probably by making them less rare). The overall cost of Magic has pushed me so far away from actually buying cards that I now only play casual online where the cost of the cards I need is lower (no need really to play current tournament staples in, say, ED - *ahem* Commander), and in paper, my friends and I actually print off cards on printer paper and put them in front of sleeved cards to play amongst ourselves - cards like Jace are fun, but I would have to be insane to buy a $100 card, or even a $20 card that I would need 3-4 of to compete, unless I planned to go to serious tournaments!

Honestly, I pine for the days of Jund now, when at least the top deck was somewhat affordable. It is discouraging to a budget conscious Spike like myself to see how much I would have to pay to actually compete in Magic. I am competitive by nature, but if I HAD to pay at least $300 for a racket (that would be obsolete 1-2 years later) to be competitive in tennis, I would quit, though I love that game too.

I hope Wizards takes this seriously, since I know y'all read the forums I would love to hear a response.

Thanks!
Daniel
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I logged in for the first time in ages to post on here so that I can say I both agree and disagree with wspaniel. 

First of all, Jace is very powerful, and lowering the cost of a card does not lower the power level of that card. Decks like Caw-Blade take up a much larger percent of the meaningful metagame (meaning decks that are actually good) and you absolutely must know how you are going to beat a deck with Jace if you aren't going to play him, or you will fail in any tournament. Secondly, there is no good way for Wizards to lower the cost of Jace short of banning him (which would be bad as well, IMO). They could either re-release him in a future set, which solves no problems since they admit he is too powerful, or they could release him in some promo form. But promos often are more expensive; they would need to inundate the market somehow, and then store-owners and people who already invested in Jace would understandably be frustrated.


I think we are in agreement. The only solution to the problem is to lower the cost of Jace, but there aren't really any viable ways of doing that short of destroying the Magic economy, which is a far worse outcome. It would be best for Wizards to tack this one up as a learning experience about what happens when a single card printed at Mythic rarity in a set that wasn't drafted much is very, very good.
"Lastly, I suspect that if the planeswalker in question that made 32/32 possible slots in the top 8 of Dallas and 60/64 slots out of the top 16 were Koth of the Hammer instead of Jace, the Mind Scupltor that you'd be announcing Koth getting the banHammer today."


^this.
Lets face it this whole article was hand wringing saying;  "yeah we know we should ban this guy... but were gonna piss off the "pro" base thats paid out the nose for him, + plus suckers are still lining up in tournaments to lose to Jace so whats the big deal?"

I do agree banning sucks for sure, how about restricting? to say 2? IDK compromise methinks.
Now, for my thoughts on Jace...

It wasn't 4x-copies in every top deck for a year before today, so what's really changed? I remember when Jund was in 7 or 8 of top-8 spots for awhile. The sea of Jund. Faeries too. And remember Teferi decks?

Jace is having his time in the sun, nothing more. Admitedly, he has good reason to be in the sun - but it won't be forever.



In the time of Faeries, Jace was not yet printed. In the time of Jund, Maelstrom Pulse and Oblivion Ring and Pithing Needle existed. Also, Spell Pierce was basically not played and Mana Leak was only reprinted for the tail-end of Jund.
About jace?  http://goodgamery.com/index.php/2009/12/19/announcing-jace-week/
I will make my post simple and to the point.

1. I do not like or endorse card banning. It says that R&D didn't do their job and it makes my purchase experience less enjoyable. I don't want to buy a pack of cards and find out I can't even use cards from it.

2. Cards will rotate out of standard. If Jace is the problem (and I don't think he is) don't reprint him like they did the Baneslayer Angel. Let him have his day in the sun and he will fade away into the other formats with other powerful cards.
[...]

I do have high hopes that some things will be printed in the near future which move the format along, whether its Oblivion Ring, a different power card in another color which discourages people from playing blue, or Red Elemental Blast.



(Emphasis mine)

Did you notice when he started listing viable decks without Jace that none of them featured blue?  Hate planeswalkers, don't hate blue.
"Lastly, I suspect that if the planeswalker in question that made 32/32 possible slots in the top 8 of Dallas and 60/64 slots out of the top 16 were Koth of the Hammer instead of Jace, the Mind Scupltor that you'd be announcing Koth getting the banHammer today."


^this.
Lets face it this whole article was hand wringing saying;  "yeah we know we should ban this guy... but were gonna piss off the "pro" base thats paid out the nose for him, + plus suckers are still lining up in tournaments to lose to Jace so whats the big deal?"

I do agree banning sucks for sure, how about restricting? to say 2? IDK compromise methinks.



If Koth was that powerfully demanded, then Koth would be the one that cost $100 apeice and not Jace. Ergo, the situation would be the same.


Ultimately, price does factor into the decision of whether to ban something, even though it shouldn't. All that should matter is whether or not the card in question oppresses other strategies out of the format. However, while cost is a factor, it frequently weighs in in the reverse of what those most passionately calling for a ban want.

Most people calling for a ban of Jace are not good players (they see the format as either play Jace or lose, which is not the reality), and they're certainly not wealthy ones (thus they cannot play Jace, hence they feel their only option is to lose). Their demands are motivated primarily because they can't afford to get the Jaces they feel they need to be able to win.

However, from Wizards perspective, banning things that cost a lot makes people who just invested in them, and even those who invested a long time ago, is a lot like stealing money from them. The question they then ask themselves is: will we lose more customers by allowing this card to remain in the format and pissing off all the people who want it banned, or by ripping $400 out of the hands of each person who recently paid for theirs?

The end result is that the more expensive a card is, the more likely the populace will want it banned, but the less likely Wizards will be willing to do so.


The tournament-attendance metric is actually the best one to answer these sorts of questions. The argument that the prize structure means people will attend anyway is wrong - There were lots of prizes available in the Mirrodin era Pro Tour and Grand Prix, but tournament attendance still dropped.
Dear R&D:

It's okay for rarity to equal power if mana cost also equals power. Jace and jace-like things would probably be okay at costs closer to . Baneslayer Angel wouldn't get so much hate at . etc.
Mono red seems to do this all the time. Ball Lightning. Elemental Appeal. When was the last time anyone called for a ban on mono-red cards?

Thanks for listening!
~Minus
Dear R&D:

It's okay for rarity to equal power if mana cost also equals power. Jace and jace-like things would probably be okay at costs closer to . Baneslayer Angel wouldn't get so much hate at . etc. Mono red seems to do this all the time. Ball Lightning. Elemental Appeal. When was the last time anyone called for a ban on mono-red cards?

Thanks for listening!
~Minus



This is an interesting proposition... but with so many duals in the format, what difference would it make, besides limiting the card to two decks instead of three (RUG can't do it, obviously, but Caw and UB Control still could)?

Those mana costs do act as balancing factors (cf: Phyrexian Obliterator) but only because they constrain the power cards to one deck, as opposed to spreading throughout the format.
Dear R&D:

It's okay for rarity to equal power if mana cost also equals power. Jace and jace-like things would probably be okay at costs closer to . Baneslayer Angel wouldn't get so much hate at . etc. Mono red seems to do this all the time. Ball Lightning. Elemental Appeal. When was the last time anyone called for a ban on mono-red cards?

Thanks for listening!
~Minus



This is an interesting proposition... but with so many duals in the format, what difference would it make, besides limiting the card to two decks instead of three (RUG can't do it, obviously, but Caw and UB Control still could)?

Those mana costs do act as balancing factors (cf: Phyrexian Obliterator) but only because they constrain the power cards to one deck, as opposed to spreading throughout the format.



I see it as good design that powerful cards would have to be built around. Even if the only sacrifice would be a complete lack of Tectonic Edge. A card like Jace, the Mind Sculptor with its own built-in win condition among 4 abilities that absolutely define exactly one color should not be remotely splashable.

erdana">It's things like this that make me love WoTC and MTG in general. As Astronautic_Bullfrog said I love wizards openly talks to the players in the way they do.

Since I've seen several people bring up the issue of Mythics I want to know, would them not being around make such a huge difference? While how rare a card is does play a role in price, power level also is a large factor. Honestly, if Jace was a rare odds are he would still be one of the most expensive cards in the game right now. Would he be any where close $100 a piece no, but I'd say he would easily clear $30. I mean Stoneforge Mystic is only rare and is going for $25, the same price as Sword of Feast and Famine. In fact the bulk of mythics I've seen are $15 or. The simple fact is the best cards will always cost more then the cards that aren't drawing focus.

I do think part of my views on Mythics is based on me having spent years playing yugioh where their are 3 levels above "rare" and it was a very common sight to see many cards selling for over $30 (if memory serves Dark Armed Dragon price could go over $200 during it's time in the light) so to me seeing most card for less then $15 is nice. Granted it is a different game so very different rules apply.

As for Jace, it's hard to say he hasn't warped the meta, but I don't think he has centralized it. While Jace is a common card to see, decks not using him can do well (as said in the article) and even when most decks are using them their is no one strategy to using him. Yes, he has had a powerful effect on the meta, and not in a good way, but I think a little more time is needed to see if he needs to get kicked. This might just be his time fully in the lime light and with a new set on the way he might die out a little. Either way, as said in the article baning cards should never been done lightly.

Though some called for an emergency ban, don't overestimate the number.  A lot like myself just wanted an admission that R&D screwed up a bit.  Which we got.  But I actually think Tom elevated the issue a bit by talking exclusively about "emergency ban".


I would have much preferred if this Development column had talked about the development process that led to printing Jace and an absense of playable answers.  Since "answers" has been a recurring theme in this column in the past, I'd like to see it discussed in a non-back-patting way.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

I don't want to buy a pack of cards and find out I can't even use cards from it.



If your objective is to win, and you don't have 4 copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, every non-Jace card might as well be blank.

Sure, as the article said, it's quite possible to play non-Jace decks in Standard.

It's just not possible to win with those decks. 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
I am in utter confusion as why this card was not banned. The idea that to compete in standard requires the play of one card out of standard and Development decided not to ban this card blows my mind. You openly decided that if you don't already have 4 of these cards you don't compete, and then are justifying this decision with light excuses. Some of these ideas make sense, but in the end it comes down to if the seven of the top eight play Jace, maybe we could make better decks if we weren't forced to play with him. I personally have quit standard until he has cycled, and I won't touch it till he's gone.
Finally, a real article where WotC admits the problem, not like yesterday's poor smokescreen on why they arn't banning Preordain. That was a slap in the face. This problem with Jace TMC has been around far longer than just since this most recent top-8. Jace TMC has been like Phyrexia itself. It has grown to be included in every major deck type being played.

As much as I hate Jace TMC for how broken he is, I think putting him on the Restricted list for all formats should do the trick nicely. He still gets to be played, but as only 1 of. No matter what New Phyrexia looks like, it comes down to this simple fact:

You either play these cards created to stop Jace TMC... I mean, stop planeswalkers, or you get killed by Jace TMC.

You are still building your deck to deal with one card that is the lord over the realm. That is when a card needs Banned or Restricted. Whenever one card or one deck devoted to a card or card group because that powerful.

I think they went too far with the 2005 ban. I think they could have nicely solved the standard format by banning just Ravager and the Disciple. 

MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green).

He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one."

I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago." ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred:

Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature.

Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself?

Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill.

Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it.

Him: You can't do that.

Me: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

I am confused from this article. Does this article imply they might reprint Jace in 2012 to make him more available or they intend to limit/ban it? I would probably welcome a reprint to give JTMS another year of standard.

Maybe i am biased because i have been playing with the card for almost 2 years now but i don't know if i want it off standard. For one it would mean that i would be able to research other colours/archetypes too.


Then again my whole opinion is based on a player base of 20-30 people off which i was the only one playing the full set of the card and there are about 10 more that play competitively (if you can call the numbers enough to make an estimate).

I am quite satisfied with what Jace has offered me in these 2 years which was a stable more or less background to build 4-5 different decks. I expect to use it for the next couple years for extended as well. I would hate to see it banned, especially since there are so many cards that can fight it and many more strategies that you can follow if you want to avoid losing to it. 

I don't think the one card is as important as its' haters want to make it.
Everyone who just posted that you can't win without Jace can't win because they're bad players. We have a SINGLE tournament where all the Top 8 had Jace. We have loads of evidence that nonJace decks can win. Don't blame you poor results on the cards that beat you.

Also, restrictions exist in Vintage ONLY. In other formats, if it's good enough to restrict then it's good enough to ban - otherwise, games become about who drew their one-of Jace.
I have been playing since 1993 and I have only played in one Grand Prix, an that was back in 1997. I have realized with all my years playing some cards are printed and then decks are completely built around them. Then there are decks that are built around some combination of cards. Now there is a point to my ramblings.  

JTMS is by far the most annoying card I have ever had to play against. There are many answers to Jace yes although those answers can hardly be played vs decks playing Jace. Blue has always been a pain with the counterspells but eventually an answer could be played through the counters. With Jace its very difficult to answer him if the deck is packing hate againts nearly everything else that could stop Jace. 

Most people I play with do not own Jace because of the price. I have a family as many other people do and many of my friends have jobs and other bills  they can not afford to pay for Jace decks.

Should Jace be Banned? No.... It deflects from much of the issue as well as causing issues of its own through recourse.

Should Jace be Restricted? Could be, albiet just means people who have 4 per deck now would have three other decks to work with and the strength of the Jace meta would actually dwindle.

Should this be something R&D and the rest of WotC should chock up as a learning experience and stray away from doing this again? Yes.

My thing is this also Jace can and does seriouslly affect the deck enviroment enough that unless players have an immediate answer within 3 turns of Jace hitting the floor its nigh impossible to remove him.

I just hope answers to planeswalkers do not come as just creatures but something a little more permanent to the field. I mean Revoker can be shattered or Bolted. Hexmage has a bunch of creature hate to worry about.  Very weak answers in my opinion.

Well I shall end with this, JTMS is very powerful and the decks that play him would not be as good as they are without him. I mean Valkut is very good in its own right, but take Valkut out of the deck and there are still very dangerous ways to win in the decks.  So R&D please choose wisely in your outcome about JTMS and other Planeswalkers. 

 
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I'm surprised they even brought it up. But good for them.

Here's what I heard:

"Normally, banning a card in Standard is unwarranted. But even when a ban might be warranted, if it's a close call, we won't do it. Banning cards make players who open boosters looking for chase rares unhappy. It also tells players to expect (and ask for) more bans. And we enjoy our current state of authority which basically says that if it's not Memory Jar or affinity, we don't want to hear about it.

But recently we've been debating JtMS in the pit. When we do ban cards we do so for two reasons: because the card is warping the meta in a bad way, and when everyone is finding an excuse to play it. And boy, are people finding an excuse to play Jace! We've got this neat aggro-combo-control deck focused around the awesome synergy between Squadron Hawk and any equipment, plus Stoneforge Mystic. And then we have a typical RG ramp deck. People adding blue to a white shell doesn't surprise us. But when an established RG ramp deck (of all colors) starts splashing blue, something's wrong.

I promised you no emergency bannings and I'm going to keep my word. But I will also helpfully remind you of the next B&R announcement date. (Hint.) And I'll close with one final thought: Jace is popular. That's new territory for us. Usually when we ban an arbitrary Jar, Ravager, or Clamp, they're not expensive chase rares. Ravager was the closest. Some people really love their Jaces and have traded lots to get them. That's why we're giving you 3 months of warning. (Oops, it slipped.)

P.S. M12 and NPH will be the first sets with severe PW hate. We originally intended to hate out Superfriends, where a player would hide behind 2+ PWs and gain incremental advantages with no commitment to the board, but Jace can suck it too."

^ How accurate is that?
I'm glad to see this article, since at least Wizards is acknowledging that there's a problem.  Normally Wizards is incredibly slow to admit they've made a mistake, and I didn't expect to see an article like this until after Jace either rotated or was banned.  And honestly, I think their "wait and see" approach is pretty reasonable.

Then again, the fact that there were 32 copies in a top 8 is pretty much incontrovertible proof that Standard right now is pretty messed up.  If I recall correctly, the last card to see 32 copies in a top 8 was Skullclamp, and we all know how that turned out.

On the other hand, Skullclamp was way more powerful than Jace is.  I'm not really sure which is more format-warping -- Clamp could easily go into almost any deck, whereas Jace forces people to play blue, so Jace is more warping in that regard; but Clamp also spawned decks like Elf and Nail, which just couldn't have existed in a fair environment.

Clamp had to go.  Jace probably doesn't at this point.  At least, I certainly think waiting until the next set is out is a reasonable decision.  We'll see if the newest sets' answers are more effective than Koth, Tezzeret, Hero of Oxid Ridge, and similar cards that were supposed to deal with Jace previously.

Edit: I also think Katastrophe pretty much hit the nail on the head, although I don't think that they'll be banning Jace just a few months before it rotates.  It's too much of a PR disaster with too little upside.
We talked about the Jace issue in depth on our Podcast this week.  You can find our discussion at around the 40 minute mark here: www.mtgcast.com/?p=9205 
What if Mythics became a card type that is inherently restricted?  They could print some pretty crazy stuff.
Off topic but ... has anyone noticed that the white and black planeswalkers on the Magic 2012 graphic are Gideon and Markov rather than Ajani and Liliana? Is wizards planning on reprinting them?
Everyone who just posted that you can't win without Jace can't win because they're bad players. We have a SINGLE tournament where all the Top 8 had Jace. We have loads of evidence that nonJace decks can win. Don't blame you poor results on the cards that beat you. Also, restrictions exist in Vintage ONLY. In other formats, if it's good enough to restrict then it's good enough to ban - otherwise, games become about who drew their one-of Jace.



Wow, the arrogance of you post surprises me. To say that people who think Jace should be banned are all bad players is such a bad and overarching statement. There are pretty good players that can't afford Jace. I think some of the anger and frustration of the people who want to ban Jace is they can't afford him, or have even tried to play around him and failed.

Yes, you can play around him, he makes the game more difficult, but there are ways to beat him. (Heck, even Koth beats him on the draw as alot of Jace players seem to be gung-ho about dropping him on turn 4) But, just look at win percentages, if your playing Jace in your deck your usually doing better then a opponent without it.

I also think that Jace would still be a card around $50 if he didn't have such great cards in Mana Leak and Preordain around him. Both are great support card, Jace synergises well with both cards in he can brainstorm and you can then use that preordain you got to ditch two useless cards, or get a mana leak to protect you from what your opponent is doing. Blue is a powerful color, but it doesn't win on it's own. It's the best support color in magic, and can work with any other color that makes it good. (Also if people are asking for a ban on preordain that's just sad)
Jace is the sole reason I refuse to run standard events and why I refuse to play FNM. Who cares how much people have invested in a piece of cardboard? They ripped themselves off for paying way too much. I love Magic, but Jace the Mind Sculptor has made me want to quit playing. He is 100% not fun to play against and is detrimental to the health and fun factor of the game.
I play Jace. 
I have a playset of them. Have since Worldwake. I qualified to a pro tour last year swinging them, and I nearly top 8ed this year playing caw-blade. Jace is a fun, interesting card, that makes play for both sides very difficult, yours because you need skill to properly play a Jace in the same way you needed skill to properly play affinity, and your opponents because "OMG OMG THEY JUST GOT JACE DOWN I'M SCREWED!!!!!!!!!!!!" But you know what? This has just gotten ridiculous. I can't post my thoughts in full at the moment, but when I can, I will be going into depth on why this format is stagnating because of Jace. 
Edit: Mr.Indigo, I have multiple ptq top 8s, and have been to multiple pro tours, and a grand prix. I'm just 1 or 2 tiers underneath the best players out there. And I STILL think that format is Jace and anti-Jace, and that the format can be generalized to "play Jace or lose."
Another edit: Wizards, I don't know if this will influence your thoughts on banning Jace, but your record will remain pretty good: Last time you had to ban 8 cards, this time you'd have to ban 1. Your record won't be hurt too bad.  
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Tom, thank you for your breath of honesty which has been missing from the likes of Flores' articles. I thought your reasoning was, at the very least, balanced and as much as I hate Jace I can appreciate the reluctance to ban, particularly emergency ban, a card when many have spent $$$ on it.

I thought you ducked one big issue though. Your references to Jace being slightly more powerful than was intended doesn't ring quite true. I don't think you are being disingenuous, I just think that the issue speaks to a more insidious aspect to design: where cards are designed for profit. The mythic fallacy that mythic aren't being designed as tourney staples I think has been blown wide open; the toned-down mythic launch year lasted only until M10 and Baneslayer, and then the floodgates opened. Mythics quickly esclated to cards designed, respectfully, as "must haves", "tourney staples" and to be more powerful than anything that might have been printed as a rare, so that people would "have to" buy the product. And it seemed as though design were seeing just how far this could be pushed. So just as banks did not "intend" the financial meltdown, they were however seeing how far they could push subprime mortgages. I view Jace in similar terms: inevitable, and by design. Look back on the thread where Jace2 was spoiled. From day one, ie. before Jace had even appeared in a deck, people were howling about the card. Every blue deck will have to run this was the complaint, and that was without the benefit of any Future League. How were the warning signs not seen? Like so many disasters, such as Deepwater Horizon, the signs were there but the gaze was elsewhere.

What is to be done about it? Well, as much as the schadenfreud of seeing the price of Jace2 plummet following a ban in both standard and extended would give a lot of people satisfaction, it is probably not the answer. This is an exceptional issue and I think requires exceptional solutions. That is, to re-introduce the Restricted list just for this card in the non-eternal formats. At one copy, those who have them will still be able to play them. Those who don't will find it easier to acquire. The decks that run blue will certainly still run a copy, but I doubt non-blue decks will force blue to run a singleton copy.

As a sidepoint, you have focused on the card's effect on the tournaments in which it appears, rather than its abominable price. I can see why the price of Jace on the secondary market isn't an obvious focus for your considerations, but in this case perhaps it should be. Firstly, you do acknoweledge a trust and implicit agreement with the customer base as to not upsetting the value of your products once purchased, so price of cards on the secondary market is an issue you are willing to consider. But by extension, a customer who has invested in other cards is prohibited from getting full value out of them due to not being able to afford to add 4x Jace; if you will, like selling a computer game that requires an expensive upgrade to play all the levels. Secondly, you also acknowledge that wizards consider whether a the format is fun to play in. Part of the reason standard is not fun is because we are sick to death of jace, but not just because of the meta stagnating, but also because it is so oppressively priced that it is neither fun to be a have-not nor much consolation that to be a have when you had to spend a small fortune just to get there. And the entry point to tournaments is of course FNM and local, informal gatherings, where the rocketing price of cards has led to escalating card-sharking on new players to get these must-have cards. This predatory environment is not good for your business, my game esperience, or a fun format.

Please consider this.
Here's an idea for a great Plansewalker answer that also fits the Scars of Mirrodin Block:

Jace Hate 1 or 1
Instant
Destroy target permanent with counters on it. Its controller gains that many poison counters. 

MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green).

He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one."

I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago." ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred:

Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature.

Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself?

Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill.

Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it.

Him: You can't do that.

Me: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.